Monday, April 11, 2011

Watching for Apricot Blossoms

submitted by Theresa Schumacher, OSB

Spring is heralded at the monastery in several ways and varying dimensions of exhilaration, especially after the Minnesota challenges of winter 2010-2011! The birds can’t sing their songs enough for us. The perennials stick their beginning growth above the still-cold earth and flower gardeners feel the itch to get our hands in the dirt. When is it safe to uncover and remove the debris and old stems, we wonder, we ask each other and some of us go ahead and do it despite our better judgment.

But there is a tree that many of us watch daily. We plan our daily walk, or are just drawn by years of delight to the sheltered south side of the Gathering Place wall. We are watching the apricot tree. Day by day as the spring warmth intensifies and the blue, fluffy clouded skies hang around for hours at a time, we swear that we can see the buds swelling right before our eyes. One has to be attentive because it is an Asian variety of apricot tree that bears blossoms before it leafs out.

We’ll take in the swelling of buds, the blossoming, the leafing and, finally, we see the fruit! It too swells and begins to take on the color of ripeness and bounty. Then what? The squirrels become the greatest beneficiaries! Which of us can scamper night and day, run up and turn around and run down on every branch and keep watch 24/7, sniffing and smelling and pouncing on the little defenseless apricots?

Let’s not miss what is freely ours—the sights, the colors, the shifting delights of this lovely tree, even though the smell and taste of the fruit may never be ours!

photo by Theresa Schumacher, OSB

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